An improved methodological approach for the analysis of cell-free RNA in maternal plasma

Vincenza Causarano, Silvia Galbiati, Maddalena Smid, Laura Cremonesi, Maurizio Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of cell-free RNA in maternal plasma provides a promising tool for monitoring some pregnancy pathologies, such as preeclampsia (PE). Due to the scarcity of RNA molecules in maternal plasma we introduced substantial improvements to the protocol previously described in the literature, including a preamplification step before quantitative analysis of target genes. By applying the improved protocol for plasma RNA quantification, we obtained an increase in sensitivity of about 10 quantification cycle values in detection of both the reference and target genes in a reliable amplification range. Among mRNA markers, the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) transcript has been reported to be elevated in preeclamptic patients compared to women with uncomplicated pregnancy at the same gestational age. We applied the optimized protocol to the quantitative evaluation of CRH mRNA in women with overt PE, in a small cohort of women at risk of developing this pathology and in controls. Our preliminary results confirmed the increase of CRH mRNA concentration in preeclamptic women and showed that the transcript levels were significantly elevated in the last plasma sample collected from women at risk for the disease before the PE onset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica Clinica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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